How to Prune Crepe Myrtle for the Best Blooms


It’s important to know how to prune crepe myrtle for the best blooms. Follow these tips and you’ll have beautiful blooms in no time!

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When to prune

Prune in late winter or early spring, just before growth begins.

The three types of pruning

Crepe myrtle is a Southern classic. This deciduous shrub or tree sports beautiful blooms in summer and attractive exfoliating bark in winter. But to keep your crepe myrtle looking its best, it needs to be pruned.


Topping is the most common type of pruning for crepe myrtle. It involves cutting the main stems of the tree to a specified height above ground level. Topping encourages the growth of new stems and leaves, resulting in a denser canopy. It also promotes more flowers since most crepe myrtles bloom on new growth.

The main drawback of topping is that it can result in an unsightly appearance, with stubby branches sprouting from the main stems. To avoid this, make sure to cut each stem at a point where there are lateral branches below the cut. This will encourage those branches to grow and fill out the top of the tree.

Rejuvenation pruning

Rejuvenation pruning is the most severe type of pruning, and as such, should only be done sparingly, and only when absolutely necessary. Rejuvenation pruning is done to save a crepe myrtle that has been neglected for many years, and as a result, has become overgrown and overcrowded. When done correctly, rejuvenation pruning can bring a crepe myrtle back to good health, and encourage it to produce an abundance of beautiful blooms.

Rejuvenation pruning is best done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. To rejuvenate a crepe myrtle, remove all of the branches, leaving only the main trunk. The main trunk should be cut back by about one-third to one-half its original size. This may seem drastic, but it is necessary in order for the crepe myrtle to produce new growth that is strong and healthy.

Structural or formative pruning

The first pruning of a young crepe myrtle should be done soon after planting to establish the plant’s basic structure or form. The second pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. This is the most critical pruning of the year because it will determine how the plant will grow and bloom for the rest of the year.

How to prune

Pruning your crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is important to encourage the best blooms, as well as to shape and size the shrub. You’ll want to do some light pruning in the early spring, just before the new growth begins.


Topping is the most common method of pruning a crepe myrtle and it is done by cutting the main trunk of the tree at a point where you want new branches to grow. This encourages the tree to send out new shoots, which results in more flowers. Topping should be done in late winter or early spring, before the tree begins to bud.

Rejuvenation pruning

Rejuvenation pruning is a type of pruning that is done to overgrown crepe myrtles that have been neglected. This type of pruning will remove all of the old wood and leaves from the plant, resulting in a smaller plant. Rejuvenation pruning should only be done on mature crepe myrtles that are at least 5 years old.

Structural or formative pruning

Structural or formative pruning is done while the tree is young and still growing rapidly. This type of pruning involves shaping the tree’s overall structure, including its height, width, and branching pattern. Once the tree matures and reaches its desired size, little to no pruning will be necessary.

Crepe myrtles are fast-growing trees, so they will require annual pruning to keep them in bounds. The best time to prune crepe myrtles is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

To start, remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches using clean, sharp pruning shears. Cut branches back to their point of origin whenever possible. Next, thin out the canopy by removing some of the smaller branches growing in the center of the tree. This will help increase air circulation and prevent the formation of undesirable sucker growth. Finally, cut back any remaining branches by 1/3 to 1/2 their length to encourage new growth and produce an abundance of beautiful blooms come summertime!

The benefits of pruning

When done correctly, pruning can actually improve the health and vigor of your crepe myrtle. Pruning encourages new growth, which in turn means more flowers. It also helps to shape the plant and remove any damaged or diseased branches.

Even if you don’t want to encourage more growth, pruning can still be beneficial. It can help to open up the plant so that air and light can reach the inner branches, which helps to prevent disease. It can also make the plant look neater and more manicured.

If you’re not sure how or when to prune your crepe myrtle, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Read on for everything you need to know about pruning crepe myrtles for the best blooms.

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